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  • Multiple tours of duty?

    Correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't the standard tour of duty in Nam 1 year?
    Yet I've heard some guys voluntarily signed on for a second (or even third) tour, is that right?
    Didn't they want to go home or what?

  • #2
    Originally posted by Poor Old Spike View Post
    Correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't the standard tour of duty in Nam 1 year?
    Yet I've heard some guys voluntarily signed on for a second (or even third) tour, is that right?
    Didn't they want to go home or what?
    Believe it or not Spike...War is the most exciting thing that can happen to you. Some folks tend to lean towards the excitement stuff.

    At a reunion, I asked one of my old troops why the hell he went back for a 2nd tour. He said when he got home the situation was so bad for him (racial and anti-war folk stuff) that he would rather be back in Nam - so he re-enlisted and went back.

    Other folks that had decided to make the Military their career, almost had no choice. They would end up spending about a year back in the States and the Service would send them back.

    The Military was my career choice, and if I hadn't been wounded so bad I would have been given orders to return to Vietnam (heeheehee, my dumb arse career was Infantry - go figure why they would have sent me back). I certainly would not have volunteered to go back (heeheehee, did that the 1st time and look what it got me). LOL - I could find other ways to get excited - had 3 kids already - could have gone for broke in that area.


    P.S. I have posted before, the BEST job I ever had in the Military was being an Infantry Platoon Leader in Vietnam - also the WORST job!

    Last edited by KEN JENSEN; 16 Apr 10, 23:17.
    1st ID, 1/28th '67/'68 Phouc Vinh & Quan Loi
    Skirmishes Bu Dop Dec-67, An My, Thu Duc Feb-68
    Plt. Ldr - CIB, Purple Hearts, Silver Star
    What we write can be considered to be a reflection of our SOUL providing others to know our CHARACTER.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Poor Old Spike View Post
      Correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't the standard tour of duty in Nam 1 year?
      Yet I've heard some guys voluntarily signed on for a second (or even third) tour, is that right?
      Didn't they want to go home or what?
      In Viet Nam the standard tour of duty for many Marineswas 13 months. The Army was a year. I can't say what it was for the Air Force of Navy but I think that it was a year for them also.
      The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated ~ Mark Twain

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      • #4
        Originally posted by KEN JENSEN View Post
        ..I have posted before, the BEST job I ever had in the Military was being an Infantry Platoon Leader in Vietnam - also the WORST job!
        Worst?Why?
        Personally I think I'd like to be the dood who tells other people what to do..

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        • #5
          I don't recall exactly where I read that but when the 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division approached the end of its first year of combat in Vietnam in July 1966, the majority of the brigade members chose to reenlist for another tour. I guess you can call that Airborne esprit de corps

          PS: The Marines' 13-months tour was reduced to 12 sometimes. in late 1969 or early 1970.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Poor Old Spike View Post
            Personally I think I'd like to be the dood who tells other people what to do..
            LOL - EXACTLY!

            I became an Officer for TWO reasons;

            1) More Money
            2) I was real sick of idiots telling me what to do.

            Guess what....the grass is never greener - IDIOTS abound at all levels.


            Worst?Why?
            Personal an REAL up close observations of "Man's inhumanity to Man".
            I had a tough time accepting the killing of fellow humans. To this day I know I can kill without remorse. VERY SAD!


            1st ID, 1/28th '67/'68 Phouc Vinh & Quan Loi
            Skirmishes Bu Dop Dec-67, An My, Thu Duc Feb-68
            Plt. Ldr - CIB, Purple Hearts, Silver Star
            What we write can be considered to be a reflection of our SOUL providing others to know our CHARACTER.

            Comment


            • #7
              There were also incentives to have you extend. We were offered a month's leave & travel to anywhere in the world if we'd extend 6 months. Few did.

              Also, if you re-upped while over there as an EM or NCO and the bonus package included cash then you paid no Federal income tax on it.
              "If you are right, then you are right even if everyone says you are wrong. If you are wrong then you are wrong even if everyone says you are right." William Penn.

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              • #8
                I was career Army. Army + War ? Adds up. IFI was not newly married, 3 weeks before arrival on Nam, I would have extended for a year. I felt like we were doing something improtant and wanted to be a part of it.
                "Ask not what your country can do for you"

                Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

                you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

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                • #9
                  Ken, have you ever returend to Vietnam?
                  "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is spongy and bruised"
                  Zap Brannigan. Futurama

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Boonierat View Post
                    I don't recall exactly where I read that but when the 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division approached the end of its first year of combat in Vietnam in July 1966, the majority of the brigade members chose to reenlist for another tour. I guess you can call that Airborne esprit de corps
                    That was because they believed in the mission, They served in areas where the enemy was terrorizing the villages and wanted to do something about it. We had the same feeling where I served although tempored somewhat by our brigade commander reckless lust for brownie points and the poor security where Hanoi Hanna knew more about our missions then we did. (I picked up an operations map laying on a table in the mess hall just before a mission and stashed it in my duffel bag. We had locals that worked in there, no doubt, some being VC agents.) All of that caused way too many casualties and destroyed equipment in our brigade.

                    Sadly all that effort was wasted when the politicians ordered American forces to abandon the villages to defend the big cities during Tet of 68. The enemy then went on a blood bath through those villages undoing all of the good will built up over the years. That was further wasted with the reporting of Walter Cronkite as he emphasized the destruction and number of US casualties while downplaying the crippling losses suffered by the enemy.

                    It all went downhill from then on.
                    “Breaking News,”

                    “Something irrelevant in your life just happened and now we are going to blow it all out of proportion for days to keep you distracted from what's really going on.”

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by cecilia View Post
                      Ken, have you ever returend to Vietnam?
                      NOPE! No desire - only thing I left there were emotions, blood and bone.


                      Last edited by KEN JENSEN; 17 Apr 10, 08:55.
                      1st ID, 1/28th '67/'68 Phouc Vinh & Quan Loi
                      Skirmishes Bu Dop Dec-67, An My, Thu Duc Feb-68
                      Plt. Ldr - CIB, Purple Hearts, Silver Star
                      What we write can be considered to be a reflection of our SOUL providing others to know our CHARACTER.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Caveat on multiple tours

                        I always a bit leery when most folks I meet claim multiple 'tours'. The official tour was 12 months, but prior to 1965 a lot of deployments into Vietnam were TDY tours. Special Forces teams normally rotated in for six months, but we sent a specialized training team in 1965 that was only in there for three months. So you could meet people claiming three 'tours' who had only two years in country or less. Also, you could extend your tour in Vietnam for anytime less than 12 months, and many counted such extensions as a second tour, even if only for a few months. Reasons for doing so often had to do with a soldiers ETS date, reenlistment eligibility date, or promotion eligibility dates (especially for officers). Or in one case I knew, to nail down a few months duty in an R&R center out of country (Thailand, I believe). Hey, somebody had to do it. My own experience with genuine multiple tour types in combat arms was as follows: they were career types, often orphans, generally either married to or planning to marry a Vietnamese, and . . . had left their initial assignment in a Regular Army combat unit for MAC-V, Special Forces, or the PRU programs. There were also those who could claim a "single" Vietnam tour of six to eight years. Tom Berry (RIP) of Team 162 comes to mind. (Orphan, married to a Vietnamese, first tour with the 1st Cav or 173rd Abn). I also knew several Canadians and Frenchmen with multiple tours, one Frenchman claiming an earlier tour in the 50s. As for non-combat arms multiple tour types, in 1969 the E-6 managing the Meyercord Hotel in Saigon had five years in country, and there was a US Army Vietnamese linguist working in PSYOPS in the US Mission. Both had a Vietnamese wives and multiple kids.

                        If you weren't out humping a ruck in a conventional unit all the time like Uncle Ken and some of this forum's other members, Vietnam could be a very good place indeed. Especially if you found yourself someplace where you had a major voice in what happened locally, and were far enough from the flagpole that your boss could only make occasional visits.

                        As a footnote for Uncle Ken, in 1969-70 the turnaround time for CONUS based Infantry captains between Vietnam tours was eight months.

                        Boonie, I'd be willing to bet that the majority did not "reenlist" for another tour. Reenlistment means signing up for another minimum of three years in the Army. Extending one's tour was a far simpler and different matter, and as noted it did not have to be for a complete year. (though soldiers got a free 30 day leave and transportation home, or to destination of choice, for extending a complete year.)
                        Last edited by lirelou; 17 Apr 10, 09:26.
                        dit: Lirelou

                        Phong trần mài một lưỡi gươm, Những loài giá áo túi cơm sá ǵ!

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                        • #13
                          Post edited, picture and link removed, what does Peiper have anything to do with Vietnam??

                          Boonierat - Forum XO
                          Last edited by Boonierat; 18 Apr 10, 22:59.

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                          • #14
                            Most aviators served more then one tour. If you had enough time left when you got back to the states you could count on going back, this happened to a good buddy of mine who had ben assigned to VP Humphrey's flight detachment. He hated the inactivity and requested a transfer.

                            Another friend of mine who had been in the 101st re-upped and went back because, in his words, "he couldn't stand to see all these people running around with no one in charge."

                            All of the EM in our gun platoon had extended, it was about the only way to get into the gunships. I extended right up to the date I got out of the army plus one month. In retrospect I wish I would have stayed 3 more years.

                            We had a lot of infantry types extend 6 months so they could become door gunners and get out of the field - kind of an out of the pan into the fire sort of thing.

                            RW
                            "Dost thou not know, my son, with how little wisdom the world is governed?" -Count Oxenstierna (ca 1620) to the young King Gustavus Adolphus

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Poor Old Spike View Post
                              Post edited, picture and link removed, what does Peiper have anything to do with Vietnam??
                              Boonierat - Forum XO
                              Nothing at all, except he displayed some of the same 'combat-junkie' symptoms of Nam vets and we can all learn from it.
                              But now that you've deleted my stunning post and picture there's just an empty space where they used to be and how does an empty space benefit anybody?

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